September 3rd, 2010

Update: Hurricane Earl

Posted at 12:35 AM ET

earl-thurs-22-smallEarl was downgraded to a category three hurricane, with the center of the storm presently located around 245 miles (395 kilometers) south of Cape Hatteras in North Carolina and 720 miles (1,155 kilometers) south-southwest of Nantucket in Massachusetts, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). Earl is currently packing sustained winds of 125 mph (205 kmph) and is moving towards the north at around 18 mph (30 kmph). A turn to the north-northeast with an increase in forward speed is expected on Friday. On this forecast track, the NHC says Earl will pass near the North Carolina Outer Bank tonight and approach southeastern New England on Friday (September 3) as it tracks parallel to the U.S. East Coast. At present, hurricane-force winds extend up to 90 miles (150 kilometers) from the center of the storm while tropical storm winds extend up to 230 miles (370 kilometers).

The NHC issued a hurricane warning for the coast of Massachusetts from Westport eastward around Cape Cod to Hull, including Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Island. A hurricane warning remains in effect for the U.S. East Coast from Bogue Inlet, North Carolina, northeast to the North Carolina/Virginia border, including Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds. Areas north of the North Carolina/Virginia border to Cape Henlopen in Delaware remain in a hurricane watch. An additional hurricane watch has been issued by the Canadian Hurricane Centre for Nova Scotia from Medway Harbour to Digby. A dangerous storm surge is still expected, which will raise water levels as much as 3 to 5 feet (0.9 to 1.5 meters) within the hurricane warning area and Chesapeake Bay. Forecasters also warn that up to 6 inches (150 millimeters) of rainfall is expected over parts of eastern North Carolina, including the Outer Banks.

earl-thurs-22-big

Hazard data illustrated in the CAT-i map was taken from i-aXs®, Guy Carpenter’s web-based risk management platform. i-aXs users can view impacted areas on any map as well as see how their portfolios were affected. Please contact your broker or Instrat® representative for assistance or go to www.i-axs.info for further information.

Although Earl weakened slightly, it is still a dangerous category 3 hurricane. The storm is expected to batter North Carolina with heavy rain and destructive winds before moving north along the East Coast. According to the NHC, winds are beginning to extend further from the eye. The western edge of the eyewall may brush against Cape Hatteras, which could create dangerous waves, beach erosion, and some property damage. This approach would give the area full impact of a major hurricane. A similar approach is also forecasted for Rhode Island, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and the eastern portion of Long Island.

Earl is expected to continue to gradually weaken today and Friday. The official NHC forecast has Earl reaching the North Carolina coast tonight as a category 3 hurricane and approaching south-eastern New England by Friday night. Tropical storm-force winds are expected to be felt along parts of the North Carolina coast this afternoon, with hurricane-force winds hitting the Outer Banks by tonight. Looking further ahead, the NHC expects tropical storm-force winds to reach Virginia and New Jersey tomorrow night (September 3) before making possible landfall over Nova Scotia in Canada on September 4. Forecasters said Earl will make its closest pass to New Jersey on Friday afternoon as a category 2 hurricane.

Based on today’s forecasts, Risk Management Solutions (RMS) estimates nearly USD4 billion of exposure to lie within the NHC cone of uncertainty over North Carolina. RMS stated that the NHC’s cone of uncertainty still includes the possibility that the core of the storm will sweep the Outer Banks, but that the on land portion of the cone over North Carolina has reduced since yesterday.

Sources: National Hurricane Center, WSI, Agence France Press, Associated Press, Reuters News, CNN News, BBC News, MarketWatch

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Guy Carpenter’s Instrat® department provides CAT-i reports for major natural catastrophes worldwide. These reports cover catastrophes including worldwide tropical cyclones, earthquakes, major UK and European floods and any other natural event that is likely to incur a significant loss to the (re)insurance industry. Please email CAT.i@guycarp.com if you wish to be added to the free email distribution list.

Instrat also provides RISK-i reports for major technological or man-made events worldwide. These reports cover risks to property, transport and life including explosions, fires, crashes, engineering disasters and terrorist attacks that are likely to incur a significant loss to the (re)insurance industry. Please email RISK.i@guycarp.com if you wish to be added to the free email distribution list.

Hazard data illustrated in the CAT-i map was taken from i-aXs®, Guy Carpenter’s web-based risk management platform. i-aXs users can view impacted areas on any map as well as see how their portfolios were affected. Please contact your broker or Instrat® representative for assistance or go to www.i-axs.info for further information.

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